Most of you guys probably know this already, but I went to college for Marine Affairs. I was accepted into college for Marine Biology and then quickly switched to Marine Affairs when we learned the tuition was about half the price. One would assume, man she must really love the ocean…. right? But I guess the problem is that while I am incredibly fascinated by marine life and truly in love with the complexity of the ocean, I quickly found myself much more interested in the sustainability courses and lectures I took. I quickly learned that I had zero interest in ever learning to scuba and diving myself (or even snorkeling) into the ocean.

It’s just that, I have a lot of fears– you guys know this. And loss of control is huge for me. Going into the ocean (or the idea of space or anything seemingly endless) feels claustrophobic. I know that sounds backwards, and maybe it is. But I can’t handle open space as much as I can’t handle the idea of being trapped in a small box. Both seem equally scary.

You know, other than skipping class to collect sea shells on the beach, joining the surf club– and never, not once surfing a day in the club, and other than joining the sailing team due to peer pressure (I lasted three practices), I stayed pretty clear of the water through my marine based college education. I’m a weird fish– an off beat water person for sure. It’s beautiful, I could spend every day at the beach, I could live on a boat, but going into open water is just not a fear I’m ready to conquer just yet. I’m sure watching that open water thriller film didn’t help my case either.




But even still, I know my fears are mostly irrational. My own anxieties create my fears. While something could happen out there in the ocean, rationally, I know that it’s not likely. And so, even with my fear, I’m trying to create an environment where I don’t pass my fears onto Marlowe. My fears dont benefit me, they certainly wont benefit her.

I want her to go out and tackle the things that my anxieties hold me back from. I really do my best all the time to be mindful of how I let me own fears affect me. Because even if I don’t verbally share my fears, she’ll learn through my own behaviors and demeanor. I don’t want her to be unnecessarily fearful in life. I want her to feel strong, brave, and powerful with all things in life– I want her to dive into life with open arms.

And I’m grateful in the moments that she does that— without me.

When Alex and Marlowe came back from the hour or so of snorkeling — Alex told me he had to try to keep up with her– she went out into the open water alone and without the need to have anyone by her side. She’s not typically the most adventurous kid– she’s not a thriller seeker by any means, but she’s already braver than me in so many ways. And I’m really proud of her.

Maybe one day I’ll get in the water with them (I did in Bacalar— if that counts), maybe I wont. But for now I’m really happy take in the beauty from a distance. And grateful to happily see them do the things that I wont do. Who knows, maybe she’ll be the ocean explorer that I couldn’t be 😉 Only time will tell.

2 Comments

  1. Lisa Roy

    Thank you for sharing! I felt that deeply – I’m planning to have a baby soon and one of the (many!) things I worry about is teaching my child fear (of water/skating/rollercoasters/ anything physical). I loved your perspective on it. Also, seeing that there are other mothers dealing with anxieties and still raising amazing children really helps!

  2. Definitely get not wanting to pass those fears down to her kid! Good for you for figuring out a way to take care of yourself and encourage her to not hold back at the same time. 🙂

    Not sure if this is something you’d be interested in but have you ever heard of/tried Splankna therapy? It is a little bit similar to EMDR, and it uses muscle testing to find and release negative emotions and toxic memories from the body. A few friends who used to be plagued by anxiety/fear have told me it was totally freeing for them.